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No Apologies Necessary

No Apologies Necessary


You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
When a team scores a lot of points and gives up a lot of points and wins like, for instance, in the Bucs' Week 10 win over the Redskins, that is generally considered to be a great victory. Their 36-35 win was viewed as a momentum builder, a win that helped propel them to the division title. Even though one side of the ball, the defense, was generally ineffective and not functioning up to snuff, the Bucs scored a lot of points so everything was OK. There's no talk of, my gosh, they're going to be in trouble if that defense doesn't pick it up. In this case, the win is a great deodorant, washing away the stench of a poor defensive performance. The Bucs' game here is just an example; it happens all the time.

Now, on the other hand, if a team wins with superb defense and not much offense, as the Redskins did on Saturday, the deodorizing effect of the victory is diminished significantly. Just like in the 36-35 game, one side of the ball is working superbly and the other one isn't even competent, but unlike the high-scoring affair it is viewed as an ugly, even undeserved win
Let me ask you this. If a team gave up the most yardage ever by a winning playoff team, would anyone make more than a passing mention of it? No, because needing to score a lot of points to win is considered to be winning "pretty".

Certainly, you'd rather win in a balanced fashion like the Patriots and Panthers did with good play on both sides of the ball. But the Redskins should not have to apologize for winning or feel inferior because only the defense performed well.

Further Review

One fun element of the Bucs game was the fact that they were turned down on two replay challenges and they whined about a couple of other calls. After what happened in November there, it was justice served up a bit cold.

There was zero evidence that Marcus Washington was down by contact on the fumble that Sean Taylor eventually returned for a touchdown and on the second challenge the replay confirmed what the back judge had originally called. As we found out with the "Tuck Rule" earlier this season, some rules may not make sense, but they are there nonetheless.

Generally, the Bucs were baffled about the call on the Shepherd play but they didn't complain about it much. Chris Simms did do some related whining however. He said that while he was OK with the Shepherd call, "But the first interception that LaVar Arrington caught, that was a fumble."

He went on further about his two interceptions, both of which came on tipped passes. "Both interceptions were going to be 20-yard completions." Yeah, and I was going to be the Queen of England, but a few things got in the way of that.

The best comment was made by John Gruden before the game. Talking about the controversial two-point conversions, he said, "I don't care about hurt feelings, all I care about is us." Couldn't agree more, John. Actually, there is one thing I do care about, John. When's your tee time on Monday?

Close Call

This season, I haven’t been doing much reviewing of my Bold Predictions like I did last year. I just didn’t find it to be interesting most of the time, so I didn’t do it.

The reason I did it in the first place was because I didn’t like it when writers touted the predictions that they got right and buried the ones they got wrong. Having gone one game better than the Redskins this time at 12-5 with my winner predictions so far this season, I’ve certainly been right more often than I’ve been wrong, so it’s time to do just a bit of crowing

From my Bold Predictions entry last week:

Chris Simms had the day of his brief NFL career the first time the teams played. He threw for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions with a gaudy QB rating of 119.8. He wasn’t sacked; for that matter, he barely even hit.
It will be different this time around. . . He will be very fortunate if his rating is half of what it was the first time.

Simms' rating for the game, 52.6, less than half of what it was the first time around.

Cadillac Williams won’t beat them either. Tiki and LT ran against the Redskins this year and Tatum Bell popped a couple of long ones. Nobody else, not Alexander, not Jones (Thomas or Julius), not Jordan, not Westbrook, not Tiki the second time around, ran on the Skins. Cadillac won’t either, and that will worsen Simms’ problems.
Williams gained 49 yards on 18 carries, an average of 2.7 a pop.

The bottom line:
It won’t be pretty and it won’t be for the faint of heart, but the Redskins will survive and advance.

Washington 17, Tampa Bay 13
That's the second week in a row I got the Skins' score on the nose, for the record. I called 31 points vs. the Eagles in that Bold Predictions piece.

Now, back to your regularly schedule pontificating.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.